Sworn to Secrecy for Life: A Young American Spy’s Odyssey through War-torn Germany and Russia
Charles Joseph Fickey
Outskirts Press (2010)
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (1/11)
In “Sworn to Secrecy for Life,” author Charles Joseph Fickey brings his real life Army intelligence experience to every line of this intriguing, suspenseful novel that chronicles a seventeen-year-old American spy’s odyssey through Germany and Russia during World War II.
I am firm in my own choices of subject matter when selecting books for my home library, but I rely on family, friends and other writers and reviewers to steer me to a variety of reading experiences outside of my personal interests. The spy genre is not one in which I have much interest, despite the fact that I completed Army intelligence training in the late 1960s and served six years in the Army Reserves with the 389th Military Intelligence Detachment headquartered in Louisville. But, as I have often found to be the case, books like “Sworn to Secrecy for Life,” which would not normally be found on my bookshelf, turn out to be among my most enjoyable reads.
Mr. Fickey has infused his story with energy, intensity, suspense and a bit of humor to create a page turner that uses a strong sense of authenticity to make the reader feel like they are reading a true life memoir. To achieve this air, the author uses many German expressions interwoven with numerous American colloquial terms. To help the reader understand the foreign expressions used, especially the many German, Russian and American military terms used during World War II, a Glossary of these terms is appended at the end of the book.
If the notion of an ordinary seventeen-year-old West Virginian, trained by the Army in the German language, history and military procedure, then thrust deep into enemy territory as a clandestine agent whose identity is known only to FDR and his senior intelligence advisor seems intriguing, then give this book strong consideration. Even if you’re not a spy novel fan, “Sworn to Secrecy for Life” might well draw you in.